Enhancement of chemotactic cell aggregation by haptotactic cell-to-cell interaction

Tae Goo Kwon, Taeseok Daniel Yang, Kyoung J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The crawling of biological cell is a complex phenomenon involving various biochemical and mechanical processes. Some of these processes are intrinsic to individual cells, while others pertain to cell-to-cell interactions and to their responses to extrinsically imposed cues. Here, we report an interesting aggregation dynamics of mathematical model cells, when they perform chemotaxis in response to an externally imposed global chemical gradient while they influence each other through a haptotaxis-mediated social interaction, which confers intriguing trail patterns. In the absence of the cell-to-cell interaction, the equilibrium population density profile fits well to that of a simple Keller-Segal population dynamic model, in which a chemotactic current density Jchemo ∼ ∇p competes with a normal diffusive current density Jdiff ∼ ∇ρ, where p and ρ refer to the concentration of chemoattractant and population density, respectively. We find that the cell-to-cell interaction confers a far more compact aggregation resulting in a much higher peak equilibrium cell density. The mathematical model system is applicable to many biological systems such as swarming microglia and neutrophils or accumulating ants towards a localized food source.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0154717
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (MSIP), of Korea (NRF grant No. 2012R1A2A1A01008021).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Kwon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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